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Rich deal zeal; KEOGH OPEN TO CONTRACT TALKS Ever-present Keogh accentuates the positive.

Byline: Alan Poole

RICHARD Keogh is ready to sit down and discuss a new contract with Coventry City. And the inspirational centre-half is hoping that he will be able to continue his backfour partnership with Martin Cranie, who becomes a free agent at the end of the season.

Keogh was recently hailed by manager Andy Thorn as City's most consistent performer and, with a number of clubs monitoring his situation, the Sky Blues are anxious to extend a contract that has another year and a half to run.

"I didn't hear anything personally but I was told there was a bit of interest during the last transfer window," said Keogh, who has played every minute of every Championship match since arriving on a free transfer from Carlisle in the summer of 2010.

"That was flattering and it was good to hear what the manager was saying about me. He didn't have to say that and I really appreciate it - it made me feel very proud.

"I understand the club want to talk about a new deal and once the dust has settled we can sit down and have a conversation.

"I'm settled here, I'm playing the best football of my career and I'm very grateful to Coventry for giving me that chance.

"For now I'm looking forward to the rest of the season, helping to get the club out of the position we're in."

City are also keen to settle terms with Cranie and Keogh is certainly hoping that FROM BACK PAGE they can strike a deal. Martin and I are mates off the pitch so perhaps we can push each other along and see what happens. "We have got a great understanding on the pitch and I think we've been pretty consistent this season.

"We know each other's games now and we've got to that stage where we trust each other - I know where he's going to be, he knows where I'm going to be and we cover each other. We missed him when he was injured so I hope we can keep it going for the rest of the season and try to get some of the clean sheets that we need." The duo found themselves sandwiched between a new full-back pairing on Saturday and Keogh admitted: "It's a pity we've picked up some injuries now just when we were starting to get a settled team for the first time in a long time and were starting ere looking solid and strong. "Hopefully it won't be too long and it's a chance for somebody else to come in and establish themselves. "Jordan Clarke has come back from his injury and he did really well on his first start of the season - he just needs a bit of match fitness now."

Keogh was as devastated as the rest of the Sky Blues camp to suffer those last-second defeats against Blackpool and Ipswich but insisted: "We can't sit around moping. We'll talk about it and we'll try to work even harder on the training ground, but above all we've got to remain positive. "There's only been a couple of games this season where we haven't put in a performance so it's a question of cutting out the mistakes and taking out chances. "I'm a big believer that a positive mind-set helps - being negative doesn't help anyone."

CAPTION(S):

SETTLED: Richard Keogh has been an ever-present for Coventy City in the Championship since his arrival.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Feb 8, 2012
Words:574
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